London Fletcher will make a record 246th consecutive start in the NFL Sunday night as the Washington Redskins visit Denver’s Mile High stadium.
Fletcher though, won’t have the toughest job of the night on Sunday, that job belongs to Washington’s defensive co-ordinator Jim Haslett.
Haslett has to somehow produce a performance from a defense that is 2nd worst against the pass this season, averaging 8.5 yards per attempt. Tonight’s opposing quarterback – certain hall-of-famer – Payton Manning, has a 71.6% pass completion rating while throwing for 2,565 yards and 25 touchdowns already this season.
The Redskins have to get to Peyton Manning. The wily Broncos quarterback has seen every disguised scheme teams can throw at him and his is the best at reading them. Washington needs to make the most of the absence of Broncos starting left tackle Ryan Clady, who is out for the remainder of the season.
Manning was sacked four times in last week’s loss to his old team; the Andrew Luck led Indianapolis Colts. Winston Justice is not in the same calibre as Clady, and Brian Orakpo and the rest of the Washington pass rushers need to get limit the time Manning has to throw or he will destroy them.
Teams have struggled to limit the Broncos offense this season, Demaryius Thomas, Welker, Decker and the Julius Thomas have proved to be effective weapons for John Fox’s team and limiting the time Manning has on the ball is the key to stopping the Broncos aerial offense, although Knowshon Moreno is still a red-zone threat on the ground.
Cornerback Champ Bailey could miss the game for Denver as he did not practice at the end of the week due to taking a knock against the Colts.
The Good news for Washington is that despite not practicing earlier in the week, Tight Ends, Jordan Reed and Logan Paulsen, should be fit to suit up on tonight.
Robert Griffin III, so often the subject of debate this season seems to be approaching his 2012 form at last. After early season struggles Griffin is now running the ball much better, he gained 84 yards on 11 carries against the Bears last weekend, a season’s best.
With his running game improving this has allowed Griffin’s passing game to find a groove as well. Against Chicago, RG III showed much better zip on the ball and he looks to be nearing his best, which is great news for Kyle Shanahan’s offense.
While Alfred Morris is the number one running back in DC, Roy Helu JR – the third year RB out of Nebraska showed he can be a real threat in the red zone last week against the bears, scoring three touchdowns. While he is not likely to do this every week Helu is looking to be a good back-up option.
Washington will be hoping to get the win against Manning and co. that could see them go on a run to match the unbeaten stretch of last season.
OTP prediction Redskins 24 – Broncos 38